Spirits giant Diageo has backed a new initiative to aid the development of new and growing distillers across the UK.
Distill Ventures is launching an accelerator scheme which will allow start-up companies to access a £10 million fund to help their business grow. First unveiled over a year ago, it is now expanding to double the number of places available for applicants in 2015. Firms have until September 28th to apply for the scheme with start-ups and newly launched companies being invited to get involved.
Diageo, Scotland's biggest whisky distiller, will provide significant funding for the project with aim of helping entrepreneurs develop new spirit brands. Scotland has a rich heritage of whisky distilling and Diageo is keen to bring through the next generation of distillers making more iconic products north of the border.
The company's investment will not only provide financial support for the start-up firms but also allow them to tap into industry expertise to guide them through their operations. Mentoring will be available alongside tailored workshops ensuring that companies are given the best chance possible to succeed.
Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk, Syl Saller, Diageo's chief marketing officer, said: "There is a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit in the drinks sector right now, and I am excited by the quality of people and brands that Distill Ventures is attracting. Distill Ventures is showing fantastic momentum and is really making a name for itself among entrepreneurs."
Diageo has a track record of investing in the future after it committed £5 million to a youth training and employment programme in Scotland. The Diageo Learning for Life, Scotland, scheme is designed at helping young people prepare for jobs in various sectors starting with bartending and hospitality.
The project is akin to a scheme launched by Diageo in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2008.